We celebrated Anzac Day last Wednesday. For many New Zealanders it is more than just another public holiday.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps - soldiers in WW1 who came from Australia and New Zealand. One of the places that they fought was at Gallipoli, which is in Turkey. They landed there on the 25th April 1915, which is the date that we remember today as Anzac Day. It was a very unsuccessful battle that lasted around nine months. Many Kiwi and Aussie soldiers were killed and in the end the British forces had to leave the area.
However, Anzac Day is more than just remembering what happened at Gallipoli. It is a day for reflection on the wars that our country has been involved in. It is a day when we remember the people who died or were injured fighting overseas - in WW1 and 2, as well as other wars that the NZ armed forces have supported. Many people attend services on Anzac Day - one of the most popular in Auckland is at dawn outside the museum. There are also parades. I went to one this Anzac Day in Brisbane, Australia - the parade went on for more than two hours and thousands of people lined the streets to wave flags and applaud the people marching, which included many veterans.